Use This Single Arm Band Resisted Goblet Squat To Build Your Legs and Core
Dr. Joel Seedman, Ph.D.
The single arm front-racked squat also known as the single arm goblet squat is one of my favorite squat variations for teaching intense core activation in conjunction with the squat pattern. Unfortunately it can be difficult to truly overload the lower body as the upper body tends to be the limiting factor. By implementing band resistance as shown here by my awesome client Matt Jordan, not only can the lifter take advantage of the core activation that’s unique to this squat but your quads, glutes, and hamstrings will also take quite a pounding.
There are several benefits of this movement.
1. Although there are 4 possible ways to overload the legs in this movement including (1) band resistance (place the bands around the outside of the feet and upper traps), (2) chains (draped around the upper traps), (3) weighted vest, or (4) weight belt (hang the weight from dip/pullup belt) I’ve found the bands have their own unique attributes. That’s because they not only provide increased tension but also provide accommodating resistance forcing the lifter to accelerate through the top of the movement. Besides deloading the bottom and overloading the top this also helps to promote explosive power throughout the lower body as you blast through the top rather than intentionally decelerating the movement.
2. The band resistance also provides a unique anti-valgus component. That’s because the band will be attached to the feet producing adduction forces on the hips and ankles throughout. As a result the lifter will be forced to push to the outside of the ankles and spread the knees or else the bands will literally pull the knees and ankles inwards causing valgus collapse. Additionally, the bands will run into the front of the knees unless the lifter intentionally pushes the knees apart and opens their hips which will then allow the bands to set between the legs. Besides strengthening the outer hips and glutes this does wonders for improving squat mechanics and decreasing joint stress.
3. Placing the opposite end of the bands around the upper traps/lower neck helps to promote a more neutral spine with proper cervical alignment as anything else feels very uncomfortable. A very common problem lifters have on squats is they hyperextend their cervical spine by pulling their head up instead of keeping it neutral. Over time this can cause damage to the neck and shoulders not to mention degrading squat mechanics and hip function as the hips tend to follow the head. Simply put when the head comes up the hips and knees tend to move forward, whereas a neutral head placement helps to promote a proper hip hinge during the squat as it reinforces the idea of keeping the hips back.
The technique can be applied to a number of squat variations but it’s particularly useful for single arm squats (dumbbells or kettlebells), as well as goblet squat variations. Several sets of 6-10 reps (3-5 on each side for single arm variations) is sufficient for these movements.